Following the July 8 massacre, in which soldiers opened fire
on a demonstration leaving five dead and another 700
injured, President Martinelli granted 20-dollar study
subsidies and provided housing to some of the widows of the
dead workers as compensation for their loss. A day after
Martinelli's cynical gesture, SIREL interviewed Catalina,
wife of one of the workers murdered as he protested Law 30
on that dark day that must not be forgotten.
-How many children do you have?
-How do you feel?
-I'm happy with the house they gave me. I now have a better
house, but the most valuable thing I had was taken away from
me. My husband wanted Law 30 repealed, so only when that law
is repealed, will feel a little better. And if the law
stands and the workers go out and demonstrate again, then
I'm going to join them.
-Your husband opposed this law…
-He said it was a law that harmed workers, that it was a bad
law for them. He wanted it repealed, and the President
turned his back on him.
-How old was your husband Antonio?
-He was 37 years old. He was an activist who supported the
President, campaigning for him, asking people to vote for
him. He would often come home hungry after being out
campaigning all day, and I had nothing but banana and
coconut to feed him.
My husband would say that with Martinelli our lives
would improve. But that’s not how it turned out. He believed
in the President, that he would bring change, but not this
-How many years had you been married?
-Was he always a member of the Union?
-Yes. It was his passion, and he fought for workers rights.
-The President came to see you and you asked him to repeal
the law, is that right?
-Yes. I asked him to repeal the law.
-What did he say to you?
-Nothing. He looked down and just stood there…